I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing. John 15:5
I love this verse. I love it so much, I pray it every day. “Jesus, I am here to abide in You and You promise, if I abide in You, You will abide in me and I will bear much fruit, for apart from You, I can do nothing. Apart from You, I don’t want to do anything.” Then I bust out singing in my head the song from Avalon, back in the 90’s, … I don’t want to go somewhere, if I know that you’re not there. I know the me without you is a lie. True story!
If you read the beginning of John 15, Jesus is talking about the vine and the branches. He is the Vine and we are the branches. Go and check it out. It’s pretty cool. For now, let’s stick with abide. I recently read that in this passage the word abide could mean three things: connection, dependence and continuance.
Connection: Jesus wants us to have a life-giving connection to Him. It is a mutual connection. Basically a relationship. A relationship goes both ways. God created us for relationship with Him and other people. Both ways is the most important. We can pick up the phone and call someone. They say hello and we ramble on for 10-15 minutes and then hang-up. I don’t think much of a relationship is being built through that conversation. There is no connection. Jesus wants us to link, relate, attach and tie ourselves to Him. He promises the same in return to us. If there is no connection, there is no life and no fruit.
Dependence: We are dependent on the Vine, not the other way around. We are totally dependent on Jesus for our living-giving nutrients, living water and daily bread. Without the Vine, our connection to Jesus, we can do nothing. We rely on Him for everything. His love, faithfulness, protection, providence, mercy, grace and on and on. There are over 7,000 promises in the bible. We can depend on Him!
Continuance: In the Greek the word “abide” is meno, which means to remain, stay or continue. To abide is to reside. To abide is to continue, to stay, and to remain. This means we go on trusting, keep on depending and never stop believing. For me this is daily. I need to continue in Jesus daily. I need to depend on Jesus daily. I need to connect with Jesus daily.
Jesus promises in this verse that when we connect, depend and continue in Him we will bear much fruit. This reminds me of the Fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit can be found in Galatians 5:22-23, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Last summer I wrote about this in my journal. This fruit is the character of Jesus. When we abide in Him, His character fills us up and overflows into the lives of those around us. Check this out:
Love: We experience and produce the same love that Jesus had when He laid down His life for His friends. Will be in me.
Joy: The joy Jesus experienced now fills me.
Peace: The identical peace that guarded the heart of Jesus even as He was being beaten and mocked, will be in me. Patience: Jesus had for His most unteachable disciple, will be in me.
Kindness: Jesus showed toward children and sinners will soften my heart toward others. Will be in me.
Goodness: A goodness that is only explainable by the presence of God. Will be in me.
Gentleness: Jesus lived a life of total humility and thankfulness toward God and polite, restrained behavior toward others. Will be in me.
Faithfulness: That led Jesus to be entirely obedient to His Father. Will be in me.
Self-Control: The strength to do what is right and to resist temptation. Will be in me.
Now here is the kicker. We will connect, depend and continue in something or someone. It can be Jesus or something else. For me, in my past, it was in alcohol, food, shopping, romance, sex and people’s approval. My connection to these things were not life-giving, they brought me death. My dependence on these things led to addictions. I trusted, believed and remained in these things and it bore rotten fruit. I hurt people, I lied, I stole, I gained weight, I lost weight. I was in excessive debt. I felt totally worthless, had no self-esteem and felt so much shame that I couldn’t look anyone in the eye. I was filled with anger, bitterness and resentment.
It wasn’t until I gave my heart to Jesus and started to build my relationship with Him that I believed His promise in John 15. I changed everything to connect, depend and continue in Him on a daily basis. My life completely changed. I just showed up with Him daily to pray and read His word. I joined a local church to connect with other growing sisters in Christ and I volunteered to serve Him wherever and whenever I could. He is the one producing the fruit. Apart from Him I can do nothing, nor do I want too.
So, what are you abiding in? Who are you abiding in? Jesus wants you. Yes, you! You don’t have to clean up or get everything in order to connect, depend and continue in Him. I didn’t! I just fell to my knees and prayed for Jesus to forgive me and help me.
We at Better Than Fine are here to support you, encourage you and teach you what it means to abide in Him. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or just to share your story. We want to help you live a full, abundant, fruitful life. All things are possible with God. Reach out to us!